The pain of no internet access, thermal cooking and the bread maker goes kaput

It’s amazing how we all rely so heavily on the internet. Our router went kaput earlier this week and it’s been uncomfortable not having easy access to the worldwide web. The kids are complaining and I’ve discovered just how often I go on to look up something because I keep finding myself thinking ‘Oh I must Google that’ then doing a mental slap when I remember I can’t. Sigh. The new router came today. It’s such a relief. I love the internet, it’s so full of interesting information.

Anyway, how are you? Hope you are hale and hearty. This week has been great because the weather has been amazing: sunshine and warmth all week. It’s gotten colder today and we’re expecting bad weather over the weekend, but that’s okay…we had a few days of fabulousness and it was great.

Been busy making things recently. Firstly, I completed my thermal cooker/cooking bag. Basically, it acts a bit like a flask and a slow cooker in that you put already heated food in, it keeps it hot and the food continues to cook for hours. I’ve made a chilli and some soup in it and it’s great. I only need to heat the food for ten minutes (as opposed to half an hour or, in the case of the chilli, 45 minutes) and I can leave it all day safe in the knowledge there is absolutely no way it can cause a fire or burn the food. If you’re keen to make one for yourself, you can get it from this lady – Elaine Collier of Mortgage Free in Three. I reckon I made mine for about a tenner, you can buy something similar for about £45.

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Talking of food, my poor old bread maker breathed its last yesterday. I was making bread, the dough was a bit too enthusiastic and rose and spilled over the edge of the metal dough basket. It went all over the element and then started burning. I tried to clean it out, but there was too much burnt dough and blackening inside, and I didn’t feel safe using it, so into the bin it went. I like home-made bread, so will possibly be looking into getting another one.

Secondly, I knitted up a wee hedgehog for my friend’s daughter. It’s an Alan Dart pattern. She’s a hedgehog lover and she had a birthday recently, so I thought it would be the perfect gift. I bought her other things too, including this lovely hedgehog mug. She was really happy with it.

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Still reading Gormenghast (well the first book Titus Groan) and I must say it has really grown (or ‘groan’ – sorry, terrible pun) on me. I love Mervyn Peake’s way of writing, it’s lovely and he describes scenes and paints characters beautifully. I think I could learn a lot writing-wise from these books.

Watched a really interesting and enjoyable film recently. Only Loves Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two vampires living in the modern age. It’s quite a slow film, but there’s something really beautiful and engaging about the storyline, about the characters. I loved it and the soundtrack was excellent. There’s a fair bit of humour in it too and it’s…well…really calming. It makes a change to watch a movie that’s not all action, CGI and rock soundtracks. Thumbs up from me.

Can’t go on any further without mentioning Game of Thrones. I am so happy it’s back. I just love it and this series is proving to be good already despite the first two episodes setting it up. But that’s what always happens with GoT…the storylines don’t really hot up until at least chapter three. However, I’m already stressing about which characters will die in this series. Please don’t make it Tyrion! Still haven’t read the books…my reason is this: I am worried that if I get into them I will have to keep reading them til the end and then I’ll know what happens and that will spoil the tv series for me. Sad, but true.

Right, am away to do something else…okay, I’m off to explore the internet. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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A week of visitors and visiting

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Sorry this is a little late. It’s been a bit of a mental week…and I wasn’t even working!

Apart from Easter Sunday when the kids stuffed their faces with chocolate and got a sugar high as a result and had to be reprimanded, we’ve had a week of visitors and visiting.

Tuesday – my parents, one of my sisters, two nieces and one nephew came for lunch. It was really nice to see them all. My parents were just back from holidaying in the Caribbean and were full of stories of their travels. I hadn’t seen my sister and her kids for ages either and my kids loved seeing their cousins. Unfortunately my other sister was unable to come due to having to work, but her daughter was here and it was lovely to see her.

Wednesday – we had a coffee morning fundraiser for Cancer Research.

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I baked for Scotland. I must have made around 40 fairy cakes, nearly 20 chocolate cupcakes, a peach tray bake and two loaves of ginger bread. I can’t tell you how many people came, but it was lots…mainly the mums of friends of my boy (I’ll tell you about the link in a minute) and some neighbours. We raised £80 which was great. We held the event (here comes the link) because my boy had heard of a girl in his school baking cakes and selling them for a cancer charity and he wanted to “do something for cancer” too. It was also a way of us remembering a few people in our lives who have had cancer, some beat it, others unfortunately died (Katrina, Stuart). Plus it was a great way of catching up with the mums I haven’t seen for ages. Apart from the mums there was a whole squad of weans and thank goodness the weather was good and they could all play outside in the back garden. Thanks again to everyone who came and donated. I was exhausted afterwards so spent Thursday not doing very much.

Thursday – hubby came home from work at lunchtime, sick. He spent the rest of the day and night in bed. We didn’t do much. The kids went out to play…nice weather again!

Friday – I’d invited a close friend and her daughters to come for lunch. Unfortunately hubby was still ill and  ended up in hospital and he’s been there ever since. I couldn’t get a hold of my friend, so had to run out of the house as she arrived. She was great and looked after the kids, putting out the food (it was all ready to go before I got home) and looking after them til I got back from hospital. Thanks AJ for that! We still had our lunch and a chat and it was great to see them all.

The rest of the week has been spent visiting hubby and watching (with relief) him steadily getting better. I hope to have him home soon.

So, there you go…instead of having a relaxing end to my week off I’ve been a bit stressed. Hey ho! That’s life. The good thing is hubby is one the mend and (and this is something we’ve been looking forward to) I also found the tv remote which means we can watch DVDs and catch up telly. Hurray! It’s the little things in life that give the greatest pleasures. The remote has been missing for about three weeks…it’s good to have it back.

Hmmm…what else has been happening? As a treat for the kids, I bought a copy of Paddington and we watched it this morning. It’s really funny. I loved watching the original tv series as a kid, so it was lovely to see the film. Ref reading…I haven’t been reading much lately, too tired, so am still on Gormenghast. Ref writing…nothing has been done on that. Just been too busy. Baking…see aforementioned coffee morning.

Anyway, I am fast running out of steam so I’ll say adieu til next time.

See you soon!

Dawn xx

 

Annie, the Moneyless Man, Gormenghast and Easter Cakes

 

Annie

Aileen Quinn, the Annie of the original 1982 movie.

 

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel I’ve been chasing my tail. The girl was one of the orphans in her school’s rendition of the musical Annie. She was performing on Monday and Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoon. She’s also been rehearsing for weeks with her schoolmates.

Anyway, we didn’t go and see the Monday night show, but we did see Tuesday’s. It was late nights for the girl both nights, but the performances were excellent especially young L who played the lead. She’s a friend of my daughter’s and was amazing. Well done young lady! The rest of the cast (kids from P6 and P7) were great too!  Beforehand P4 and 5 put on a school version of the Jungle Book and were also very good. Well done all of you.

I can’t believe we’re at Thursday already. This week has truly flown by. I know I say that nearly every week, but this week has been particularly quick.

What have I been doing? I’m nearly finished a little blanket I’ve been knitting for premature babies for the knitting group I’ve attended.

I’ve started (again) the first of Melvyn Peake’s Gormenghast books. It’s really very good. I was waylaid by re-reading Mark Boyle’s Moneyless Man, which is the tale of his going without money for a whole year, living off the land and swapping skills for food and other necessities. It’s really interesting. I find people like him fascinating and admire the fact that he’s really stuck to his principles. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fancy living without money in a freezing cold caravan for a year, but I enjoyed reading about his adventures.

mary francis sewing book

The girl and I had a sewing afternoon last weekend. She was desperate to use her sewing machine and make her favourite teddy a dress. She chose her material and we made a simple dress from the Mary Frances Sewing Book which is a lovely book first published at the turn of the last century. It’s aim was to teach young girls to sew using a story. It’s lovely – the story is lovely and the images are gorgeous. The girl’s dress turned out really nice (I did help her with bits, but she did the main parts herself) and she’s really pleased with it.  Hopefully we will be able to do another over the Easter holidays.

Talking of Easter, the boy wanted to make cakes and sell them ‘for cancer’ so we’re doing a wee coffee morning next week in aid of Cancer Research. Of course I’ll be doing most of the work, but he’s happy he’s doing something. He’s been wanting to do something like that for a while having been impressed by a girl in his school doing something similar. He’s quite excited about it. The girl’s keen too. Wee souls.

Anyway, must get on. Only got a few hours before the kids stop for Easter, so am going to enjoy them. Am currently watching Dangerous Liaisons – an all time favourite of mine. So, I will say adieu and wish you a happy Easter. Enjoy the holidays, chocolate and decorating and rolling of your boiled eggs.

Dawn xxxx